Posts Tagged ‘ ADOPTION ’

Unless you have all the facts…

Dad tells son (11) he’s adopted

An adoptive dad (who wishes to remain anonymous) reveals how telling his son the truth about his adoption has changed their family dynamics for the better…

I have two adopted children: my daughter, now 18, was adopted at the age of ten, and I adopted my son, now 11, when he was just three years old.

My daughter knew her biological father and had some contact with him before I adopted her, but they never really enjoyed a close relationship. After I adopted my daughter, she decided to break contact with her biological father altogether, even though I never discouraged their relationship. I wanted to make sure that she knew she could have contact with him if she wanted to.

My son did not know he was adopted until recently, when we decided he was old enough to know the truth. I was extremely reluctant to tell him about his adoption at first because he and I had a very difficult relationship, and I had also heard about so many adoptees who found out late in life about their adoption and the pain this caused.

I guess one will never know for sure when it’s the perfect time to tell someone that he/she is adopted; my wife and I made our decision based on our son’s emotional maturity level and readiness to hear this sensitive information. We asked a close friend, who is a preacher and counselor, to facilitate the process for us, as we knew our son would need access to someone he could trust when this life-changing information was revealed to him.

We approached the process as a family, and included my adopted daughter to support our son and be there for him should he have any questions or concerns. Although it was difficult at first, we believe that we can build a better family structure without having to pretend that we are something we are not.

My wife and I both suspected that Nathan (name changed) knew I was not his biological father, but I don’t think he understood his adoption and the complexity of the situation. When the facilitator revealed the information to him, he was not surprised, but became very emotional. That he was not surprised confirmed that he suspected the truth, but the complexity of the situation made him emotional.

As we spoke, the facilitator continually checked that Nathan understood what we were trying to tell him by asking him for feedback and examples. One comment Nathan made was that he knew I loved him, because of what we do and share together and that if I didn’t love him as my child, I would not have to do what I was doing for him then.

As a psychologist, I appreciated the facilitator’s effort to continually “check-in” with Nathan during the session to ensure he was okay and reassure him of the love our family’s and my, as his adoptive father, love for him. Nathan cried a lot while we talked, not because of his adoption, but because his mother was very emotional and he was the focus of attention in a serious matter.

This session firstly made me feel that I can be a father without having to pretend that I’m someone I’m not: I could be Nathan’s adoptive father and no longer pretend to be his biological father. Some may wonder why this is so important, and it’s difficult to explain, but it was important for me as I don’t have any biological children. Although I wanted to, I have come to accept that I will never have any. Pretending that Nathan was my biological child constantly reminded me of the fact that I do not have biological children and that I was living a lie.

Also, pretending to be someone I wasn’t caused me to push the children away, as indirectly and subconsciously I blamed them for my not having biological children. However, by telling and living the truth of being their adoptive father, I can make peace with not having biological children and be the real father to my children that God intended me to be.

For Nathan, not much has changed; he does not blame anyone or feel unloved. His standing in our family remains the same and he still regards me as his only father. He has not asked about his biological father and we don’t think he will for a while yet, but we believe that when he does, he will be ready to understand more about this complex situation. For now, he knows that he is adopted, and that this doesn’t change our love for him – he is our son, regardless of who his biological father is.

Should he want more clarity and information on his biological father later in life, we will support his decision, as we did with our daughter. We will never prevent our children from contacting with their biological fathers if they choose to do so.

Unexpectedly, telling Nathan about his adoption has positively changed my relationship with my daughter. We communicate better, trust each other more and talk about things we never could before. I believe that although my daughter knew about her adoption, she also never realised how much she gained by having a “real” father who cares for and loves her, and how much having a father and mother who love each other has changed her life for the better.

What was discussed with Nathan was not a surprise to her, as she already knew about it, but I believe that what her and her brother’s adoption has meant to them has helped to change her previously negative and antagonistic attitude and behaviour.

For my wife, the biological mother of our children, this session has helped her to realise what I was going through as a “secret” adoptive father. Her relationship with Nathan has also changed for the better – previously she always tried to protect him from the truth, to the extent of becoming over-protective, which hampered Nathan’s emotional growth as he was overly dependent on his mother.

I firmly believe that the truth has set us all free from pretending and living a lie. Now we are free to be who we really are and to build on a family unit regardless of the past. Finally, we can start building a family based on truth and trust. Because it’s not the blood in your veins, but the love in your heart that makes you a family.

Waiting to adopt? Please don’t give up

“My earnest plea to all prospective adoptive parents is don’t give up. The adoption procedure is fraught with difficult obstacles but see it through. God has a special place in His heart for people who take care of orphans (James 1:27).”

I was addressing a group of around twenty at a meeting of the Pretoria Adoption Support Group. I wasn’t scheduled to speak. I had only been invited to sell copies of my book, the proceeds of which were to be donated to the Southern Africa Bible College.

But as I listened to the discussion going on around me, I began to sense a rising sense of frustration among the audience, comprised primarily of pre and post adoptive parents.

The topic under discussion was the latest amendments to the South African Children’s Act 2007 and how these affect the adoption process.

I listened as an experienced adoption social worker explained the rationale behind the extensive waiting periods prospective parents must endure before a baby is placed with its adoptive family, and how every decision made by a social worker has to be done with “the best interests of the child” in mind.

It wasn’t long into her presentation before someone in the audience posed a question, which was quickly followed by another, and another. Although the social worker responded well to each one, it soon became apparent that the Act, although an improvement on its predecessor, remains fraught with flaws.

Under the new Act, babies only “become adoptable” after 60 days, the social worker explained. After this period, the birth mother has an additional 30 days in which to rescind her decision to give up her baby. Factor in the time required by the Act to search for birth fathers, and that they are also afforded 30 days to give their consent to the adoption, and it can be months before a child is eventually placed in their adoptive parents’ arms for the first time. For abandoned babies, the waiting period can be even longer, as the Act affords the birth mother, father and even extended family members ample time to come forward to claim the baby. By then, adoptive parents may be faced with serious bonding issues with their adopted child.

“Government adoption agencies expect us to wait months before placing a baby in our arms, so who can blame couples for choosing to work with private social workers who give them a newborn baby immediately?” one father asked (I later learned that he and his wife are waiting to adopt their second child). Everyone could hear the exasperation in his voice and as he spoke other parents nodded their heads in agreement.

I could not remain silent. As an adoptee, I felt a responsibility to speak for the orphaned, unwanted and abandoned babies. After obtaining permission from the group co-ordinator I stood up after the final presentation and faced the group. I knew that all they wanted to do was give a loving home to an orphaned, unwanted or abandoned child, but complex legal procedures made it so difficult for them to do so.

“After listening to everything that has been said today I cannot help but feel thankful that I was adopted under the old Children’s Act, which enabled me to be placed in my mother’s arms when I was a few days old and stay with them while the adoption process was finalised,” I began.

“That said, part of me also wishes I had been adopted under the new Act, because then my birth mother would have been legally required to name my birth father on my original birth certificate and that piece of my life puzzle would not still be missing to today.

“What this has made me realise is that sadly, even though it is intended to protect children from being exploited, the Children’s Act will never be perfect. It is formulated by imperfect humans who will never be able to devise a law that will satisfy the needs of all the parties involved.

“My parents also went through a difficult screening process and had to overcome numerous obstacles in order to adopt me. But they did it. They never gave up and today I am so thankful, because were it not for their perseverance I wouldn’t be standing here today pleading with you not to give up hope.

“The adoption procedure may lengthy, complex and frustrating, but stick with it. Orphans all over the world need you and God will bless you richly for your selfless act of love.”

 

Double vision: an adoptee’s view of family

Every once in a while I stumble across something from a fellow adoptee that sums up exactly how I feel about my adoption, but conveys these emotions so well that I would rather “copy and paste” their thoughts (with permission, of course) than try to echo them with my own sentiments.

Like the following blog by Rebecca Hawkes, adopted daughter and adoptive and biological mother – I think what she says is simply brilliant…

I sometimes wish I knew what it would be like to not be adopted. If you are not adopted, please think about that for a moment. Think about the things that you take for granted. Think about the simple, natural connection between you and the people to whom you are related. Even if your relationship with your family is not 100 per cent positive, there is a quality of your connection to them that you have probably never questioned; they simply ARE your family. They didn’t choose you; you didn’t choose them. You are connected to them by the interwoven threads of shared experience and biology.

For me, as an adopted person, things are not so simple. It occurred to me recently that being adopted is a bit like having Strabismus, or “Wandering Eye,” a condition in which the two eyes don’t quite work together as they should to create a single, unified picture. As a metaphor for the adoption experience, this translates to two separate visions of family. One eye sees the world through the lens of experience and upbringing. This is the “nurture” lens, connected to a definition of family as those people with whom I grew up, who cared for me, and shared the experiences of family life with me. The other eye is the lens of “nature,” or biology. It sees family as those people who share my genetics and genealogy, who are related to me in spite of our lack of shared history.

Some people with Strabismus compensate by favoring one eye over the other, and some adopted people do so as well, metaphorically. There are adoptees who will tell you that their real family is the one that they grew up in. Period. There are even those who express distance from, and disdain for, their biological mothers by referring to the them as “incubators.” On the other end of the spectrum are those who refer to their adoptive parents as “adopters,” rather than parents, rejecting the adoptive definition of family in favor of a strictly biological one. But many of us find ourselves in the middle, struggling to hold two (at times contradictory) definitions of family simultaneously, striving to create a single, unified vision from these two divergent points of reference.

Can I say that my life would have been better if I hadn’t been adopted? Would I be happier or psychologically healthier today? I can’t say that with any certainty at all; who knows where that unknown path would have led. Most of the time I am able to accept, and even celebrate, my life for what it is and to see the duality of adoption as an enrichment rather than a detraction. Usually, I am thankful that I have the love of not just one but two families. But to be honest, I’m not always in that place of acceptance and gratitude. Sometimes I wish that instead of families, I simply had “a family”.

Follow Rebecca’s blog at http://rebecca-hawkes.blogspot.com/

Reader review: “I could not put your book down!”

Kirsty Simmonds writes: “I absolutely loved your book; I could not put it down. It is an amazing and courageous walk you have lead, Aurette. You dealt with it so frankly and honestly and have faced your absolute worst fears! You have come through victorious – I was inspired, moved to tears and in joy for you – so proud of how you pushed through and refused to accept nothing less than the absolute truth, even if it meant shattering any “feel-good illusions”.

I was truly affected, moved and impressed. You truly are an inspiration – you have lived as you speak and abide in the Word. Your life bears such great testimony to how necessary and how wonderful faith in God is an can keep us through our darkest trials. Without Him we will be truly lost to the darkness and despair. Thank you for being so brave to write this all down and share your unique life story. So many will be saved beacuse of your faith and ability to put into words what so few would have been able to.

Letter to a birth-mother

In celebration of my birth-mother’s birthday this month, I am publishing this letter (with permission) from adoptee Shefalie Chandra, who wrote to her birth-mother this last Mother’s Day. Her words really moved me and echo so many of my emotions, which is why I wanted to share it… 

Mother…

I am really sorry that I never got to reach the stage in my life and yours where I could have emotionally adult responses and choices in a relationship with you. I am sorry that I never actually got the chance to have a relationship with you, except mostly in my head where I am writing all the scripts and narratives.

I wish I could have got to the place where I could have shown more respect and care for you, without having to change you into who I thought I needed or wanted, or become critical and judgmental.

I can now see that I expected you to be almost perfect in meeting my relational needs as a mother. I never got to be able to appreciate you for who you are/were as a whole individual and person in your own right. For the good and bad, and
not for what you could give me or make up to me, filling in the voids.

I have been learning how to deal with all the fallout of being relinquished and all that comes with being fostered and adopted and being raised by people who don’t reflect back to me who I am.

I am learning to take responsibility for my own thoughts, feelings, goals and actions, so that when I am under stress, I don’t fall into the victim mentality or blame game as I used to.

I am also learning to state my own beliefs and values to those who disagree with me, and that includes how others perceive adoption and birth-mothers and I don’t have to become adversarial.

I am learning to self-assess my limits, strengths and weaknesses and be able to freely discuss them with others who are swimming in the same waters. I am even swimming into the emotioanl world of others, meeting them at their place of need without getting sucked in and down. I think that means Mum, that at last I am becoming more emotionally mature; like more of a grown-up adult adoptee, and not the emotional infant or child I once was.

I wish you could have known me as this person. I wish I could have helped you learn to swim in these waters as well with me, but I couldn’t. I didn’t know how to then, so what I am going to do is try to help other people and I hope
you would have liked who I am becoming.

Oh, just one more thing, Mum, something else that I am learning to hear and know that I am loved by Christ, and that I have nothing to prove. And so that means as well, Mum, neither do you.

Happy mothers day Elizabeth, I hope you can hear me, because I mean it.

Shef

Crisis looms for South Africa’s orphaned and vulnerable children

Focus on adoption as a protection mechanism during Child Protection Week – 29 May to 2June

South Africans are in a state of shock and denial in respect of the crisis facing our orphaned, abandoned and vulnerable children, with the numbers of children who are in desperate need of a family of their own, steadily increasing.  Current estimates of children who may benefit from adoption in South Africa are between 1.5 and 2 million in 2011.  This coupled with a steady decrease in adoption rates is placing huge strain on alternative care systems, which in principle, should only be temporary solutions.

During Child Protection Week from 29 May to 2 June, the newly formed National Adoption Coalition will launch Addoption, a programme designed to draw attention to the plight of South Africa’s adoptable children and provide accurate process information to birth and prospective adoptive parents. Addoption was born as a centralised, unified hub complete with a website and call centre to provide information and guidance for birth and prospective adoptive parents in terms of the adoption process, in fact for anyone in South Africa wanting to know more about adoption as an option. In addition it also provides an extensive database of adoption professionals across South Africa.  This is the only resource of its kind that provides both adoption information and database resources in one, consolidated format. For the first time in our country’s history, the South African adoption community, including the National Department of Social Development, has taken hands to form a National Adoption Coalition – a mandated and unified structure that promotes and builds awareness of adoption, builds partnerships and collaboration across the adoption community, shares best practices and acts as a mediator and champion. “The key focus of Addoption is to educate and create awareness among South Africans about adoption as an option when deciding how to deal with a crisis pregnancy, how to become an adoptive parent, or how to extend a family through adoption.  Our role is to assist the adoption community as a whole to create awareness and hence encourage the use of their services,” explains Sue Krawitz, a spokesperson for the National Adoption Coalition. “The ultimate aim is to create positive and permanent change in the lives of the children of South Africa, to ensure a sustainable social solution for this country.  Adoption is treated with great mistrust for a number of reasons in this country, and yet, it has been proven globally to be the best permanent solution for children outside of the family.  The low prevalence of marriage in SA and resulting vulnerability of single mothers, the weakening of the traditional extended family, and the impact of poverty and HIV/Aids, has led to an alarming increase in abandoned babies.  There is also a preference for foster care vs adoption, with nearly 40 per cent of adoptable children in foster care currently in South Africa.  This is not ideal, as it is not a permanent solution for the child, and gives them no sense of belonging or long-term stability,” explains Sue. As outcomes of the programme, Addoption is aiming to create national awareness of adoption as an option, change adoption perceptions, attitudes and beliefs across communities and empower community opinion leaders to be advocates of adoption. One of the biggest challenges facing anyone in a crisis pregnancy or for anyone interested in adopting, is finding consistent and accurate information about the process and who to go to for assistance.  Through the Addoption call centre on 0800 864 658 and the website at www.adoption.org.za both birth parents and adoptive parents will have access to consistent, positive adoption communication and engagement as well as immediate access to correct adoption information. South Africa faces many unique challenges When one considers the alarming statistics, it soon becomes clear that the Addoptionprogramme and the National Adoption Coalition have vitally important roles to play, in averting a very real and imminent crisis.  There are over 18.8 million children in South Africa, almost two-fifths of the population.  The estimated number of adoptable children exceeds 1.5 million, roughly eight per cent of all children, yet currently only 0.2 per cent are adopted.  Despite the high number of children deprived of parental care, the annual number of adoptions has remained low and static over the past five years, and showed a notable decrease in the 2008-2009 year. There are a number of unique challenges that South Africa faces in finding adoptive parents as a child protection mechanism:

  • South Africa is a diverse country, with different cultural groups who have unique cultural beliefs and practices impacting adoption.  Up until now, adoption has not been “Africanised” to be more culturally appropriate and relevant.
  • There is a shortage of prospective adoptive parents, especially from the African community.
  • Adoption has not received widespread promotion at a national level.
  • Recruitment of prospective adoptive parents is currently carried out in an ad hoc, localised manner by adoption agencies and its reach is limited by lack of financial support.
  • The information on adoption is sparse and poorly distributed.
  • There is a widespread lack of knowledge and understanding regarding the unique dynamics of adoption, the typical issues confronting adopted children and their families, the risk factors that undermine adoption, and the factors that stabilise, strengthen, and preserve adoptive families.
  • The growing number of abandoned babies and children remains a serious concern, with many birth mothers unaware of their options, including adoption, or where to find reliable, non-judgemental counselling when faced with a crisis pregnancy.

Book Review: GROWING UP BLACK IN WHITE by Kevin D Hofmann

As a South African who grew up in the Apartheid era, from the first page of Kevin’s book I couldn’t help but draw comparisons between his description of America’s racial discrimination during the 1960s, and that which existed in my own country prior to April 1994.

Kevin was born in 1967 in Detroit, at a time when racial segregation was the norm in the US. The Ku Klux Klan, for example, was demonstrative in the extreme in expressing its hatred of the black minority. Meanwhile, here in South Africa, our non-white population living under the then government’s Apartheid legislation was dealing with pass book laws, the Group Areas Act and disenfranchisement, among numerous other so-called legal discriminatory practices.

Born to a white mother and a black father, Kevin is adopted by a white Lutheran couple at a time when, as he puts it, “different pigments can’t get along”. Indeed, while most babies are lavished with beautiful gifts to welcome them into a community, Kevin’s reception takes the form of a burning cross planted on his parents’ front lawn.

How Kevin and his family choose to deal with this incident and others which follow makes for insightful reading and gives all parents, especially those who choose to adopt across the colour and culture line, much to think about. As a white parent, while reading Kevin’s story I found myself constantly asking: if he was my child, what would I have done?

Kevin’s book is not about adoption. It’s about racial discrimination. He simply relates the experiences of his transracial upbringing, and the subtle and blatant discrimination he often had to endure, even from members of his own extended adoptive family. He tells his story candidly and objectively, allowing the reader to form his/her own opinions. Towards the end of the book he does touch lightly on the personal emotional issues he deals with as an adoptee, but the primary theme of his story is contained in the book’s title.

For readers who are, or on their way to becoming the adoptive parents of a child of a different race, Kevin’s journey will provide valuable insight on what being part of a transracial family entails – from the most important perspective of all – the child’s. Because when all is said and done, Kevin is no different from any other child – all he wants is to fit in.

A birth-father seeks his lost children

Most South Africans will remember Laurie Fraser, the unmarried father of a child who was put up for adoption by his mother, Fraser’s former partner. The court granted the adoption, but Fraser applied to have it set aside because he wanted to adopt the child himself. Although he lost the application, his case was instrumental in changing South African legislation. Today, the consent of both birth parents is required before a child can be placed for adoption. Sadly, however, there are many other birth fathers like Laurie who, before 1997, had no legal say over the parentage of their children. The story below is by one such father, who has been desperately seeking his lost children for more than 30 years.

My name is Guy and my former wife is the biological mother of my two children. We are first cousins and met for the first time in 1975. We fell in love and after our son was conceived in April 1976 we decided to marry. This was not to be, however, as my wife-to-be decided to abandon our plans of marriage and give up our child for adoption. In my opinion, she was influenced in these decisions by her father. Although it was against my wishes, I was forced to abide by and accept this unilateral decision, because at that time I had no legal or even basic human rights over our unborn child.

My former wife was admitted to Fatima House in Pretoria through the Catholic Women’s League.  I was instructed by her father (my uncle) not to disclose her whereabouts to anyone, including members of my immediate family. If anyone were to ask what had happened to her, I was to tell them that she had been transferred to Addington Hospital in Durban to complete her nursing diploma.

After about two months I received a letter from my former wife, informing me that her father had agreed to allow me to visit her on weekends at Fatima House in Pretoria. I was overjoyed at this apparent change of heart and visited her regularly, taking her out for picnic lunches and pleading with her to change her mind, but she remained set on giving our child up for adoption.

This period was, to say the least, very traumatic for me. I was sworn to secrecy and forbidden by her father to disclose any information about her whereabouts and the impending secret adoption. Yet I loved her and wanted to marry her and so continued to visit her.

On 13 January 1977 our child was born at the then HF Verwoerd General Hospital. No one told me about the baby’s birth, and I only learned of it two days later when I paid my weekly visit to Fatima House. I immediately went to the hospital and asked to see my future wife and our child, but was informed by the nursing staff that they had instructions not to allow me any form of access to her and our child. I had no alternative but to leave, and resigned myself to the fact that I was powerless under the circumstances and that I would have to accept the loss of our child, as well as the abandonment of our marriage plans.

About a week later I visited her at her parents’ home in Edenvale, intending to try one last time to engender a change of heart in her. It was only at this point that I learned that she had given birth to a healthy boy. Again I asked her to marry me, but she was resolute in her decision not to do so and stated that she had given up our son for adoption. I felt crushed and so was finally forced to accept that we would not marry and that our son was “lost”.  I wished her well for the future, paid my respects to her parents, and left.

Two months later, to my surprise and amazement, she contacted me and we resumed our relationship. In hindsight, I should have walked away, but I still loved her and had forgiven her for putting our son up for adoption.

My son’s birth surname is Lindenberg and he is recorded under the christian names of Graham Henry at the Catholic Womens’ League (CWL) in Pretoria. I have a copy of the document from the CWL verifying this. I am not sure whether he is recorded in the official government records under the birth surname of Lindenberg, as I have been denied access to these records. I do know, however, that he was adopted by an Italian couple and his adoptive father, who is a registered practising quantity surveyor in South Africa, is a South African citizen. Today Graham Henry is a qualified chartered accountant working in the USA. His non-biological sister was also adopted by his adoptive parents.

My son’s mother and I married in July 1977, and on 4 December 1978 our daughter, Kim Helen was born in Johannesburg.

Unfortunately, my wife and I divorced in December 1981 and she had our marriage annulled in the Catholic Church. I continued to see my daughter in accordance with my visitation rights. She was always so happy to see me and would rush to me and hug me tightly whenever I arrived to take her out for the day.

In 1988 I was subjected to a High Court action launched against me by my former wife, with the financial backing of her then second husband, the sole purpose of which was to alienate my daughter from me and destroy me financially. Sadly, she succeeded on both counts. My daughter became reserved and distant with me, a development which caused me great concern.

Thanks to her husband’s financial backing, my former wife’s resources were far greater than mine.  I exhausted my entire life savings defending, inter alia, the rights of my daughter and me to continue seeing each other. In today’s terms that unnecessary and vindictive litigation in the High Court cost me approximately R700 000.

I was on the brink of financial ruin and to this day have never recovered from it all. To compound matters further, my former wife launched a concomitant action in the Magistrates Court claiming excessive maintenance. I was forced to concede defeat both in my interests and that of my daughter, who was suffering under the enforced destruction of our once loving and close father-daughter relationship.

She was told to call me “Guy”, to acknowledge her step-father as “Daddy” and made to feel embarrassed by her surname, which was now different to that of her mother and step-father. My daughter was suffering so much; someone had to call an end to it. Notwithstanding my by now dire financial situation, I could not and would not continue to allow my very young and impressionable daughter to suffer any further. She could not understand it all, but I could, and so made the heart-rending decision to let her go. I agreed to allow her to be adopted by her step-father.

My decision was also influenced by the recommendation of the professional social workers at the Catholic Women’s’ League in Kensington, Johannesburg, with whom I had been engaged in extensive consultations, that it would be in my daughter’s best interests to be adopted, given the unfortunate circumstances which I could not alter or control and under which she was continuing to suffer so much.

In February 1998, when my daughter looked me up when visiting this country (presumably with her mother), she informed me that her now adoptive father had committed suicide the previous year. Whilst I sympathised with my daughter at her loss, I also felt a surge of hope that this was the beginning of a reunion between us.

Subsequent to this visit, my daughter and I corresponded and I really believed that we were finally reunited, but this was soon to change.  In early 2003 I received a telephone call from her mother, informing me that our daughter had been involved in an abusive relationship with her boyfriend. It sounded to me as if they had had a fight of sorts as the time of the call was about 2.00 am USA time, and I still think that I wasn’t far off the mark in surmising that during their altercation I was probably used as a scapegoat of sorts for the problems in my daughter’s life, and hence the call to me. I spoke to my daughter and assured her that I loved her and would always be available to help her where I could.

Subsequent to this telephone call, I received SMS messages from my daughter informing me that she had enlisted in the US Army. I was quite shattered by this news and couldn’t understand why she had dropped out of university in her final year of study. Clearly something was wrong, but to this day I still do not know exactly what caused her to drop out of university, enlist in the army and shut herself off from me. All my letters to her were returned unopened and my attempts to contact her proved fruitless. In a last-ditch attempt, I plucked up the courage to phone her mother in the USA and ask her for Kim’s contact details. Kim’s mother was extremely hostile and belligerent in her response and refused to give me any information.

As far as I know, Kim is married to an officer in the US Army, and they now have two children (I have yet to meet my grandchildren).

In her last letter to me in April 1999 Kim wrote: “I’m really desperate to meet him (my son and her brother) when I come home next time”. She has not corresponded with me since and I do not know what has happened to her. I too desperately want my son and daughter to meet and get to know each other as brother and sister.

I will never give up my quest to find my two children and I trust and hope that they will eventually come to read this document, including those already in the possession of the Department of Social Development and other official bodies involved in this matter.

While these documents are by no means exhaustive, I believe that they present the situation and the factors surrounding the loss of my two children in a correct and proper context, and that by reading these documents, my children will be better equipped to make an informed, objective and balanced appraisal of the events and decisions that culminated in their respective adoptions.

Guy

 

What’s good about being adopted?

This question was asked of me recently by an adoptive mother, following a talk I presented to an adoption support group on the myriad painful emotional issues adoptees have to deal with over their lifetime.

For a few moments I was silent as I tried to think of an answer.

“That’s a difficult one,” I said eventually, playing for time while I frantically searched my brain for an answer.

Then I thought of the Bible story about the man born blind (John 9:1ff). Jesus’ disciples asked Him whose sin – the man’s or his parents’ – had caused him to be born blind.

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” (John 9:3)

It’s a heavy cross we adoptees have to bear, but my journey of healing has showed me that we can use it to glorify God and further His Gospel, as the apostle Paul did (Philippians 1:12).

He also encouraged the Corinthian Church with these words:

“We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8)

and went on to say:

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:17).

It is important to note, however, that God doesn’t cause bad things to happen so that He can manifest Himself and others can learn of Him. For example, an innocent person being killed by a drunk driver is certainly not part of God’s plan or His will.

But God can use situations such as these and turn them into good. As He did with Joseph, who was sold into slavery by his own brothers (sounds a little familiar, doesn’t it?).

Despite all the hardships Joseph had to endure while in Egypt, he remained faithful to God and eventually became a high-ranking ruler of the country. In time, he was  reunited and reconciled with his family and saved his countrymen from famine.

Thus he was able to say to his brothers:

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20).

God is fully aware of the pain that results when babies are placed for adoption, but because He has given us free will, He doesn’t interfere with our choices. He can turn that pain into something beautiful, however, as long as we remain faithful to Him and wholly submit our lives to His will.

It’s a wonderful, liberating promise.

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